Hung jury in case involving a police officer and double-amputee

July 14, 2013 12:33:33 AM PDT
A civil trial at the Federal courthouse in downtown Fresno ended in a hung jury.

A double-amputee in a wheelchair was seeking damages against a Merced police officer who Tased him.

The 8-person jury deliberated for roughly 4 hours Friday before deciding it could not come to a consensus.

"We couldn't agree on anything," said Colleen Watts. She was on the jury and said it wasn't an easy case. "When you see something a certain way, and someone sees it a totally different way, it's just weird. But we were deadlocked, 4 -4 ," said Watts.

The case involved Gregory Williams, a double amputee in a wheelchair. He filed a civil lawsuit against a Merced police officer who tased him during a confrontation in September of 2009.

A video obtained by the Merced Sun-Star shows Williams in handcuffs on the ground during the arrest. His attorneys said Officer John Pinnegar used a 50,000 volt Taser on Williams before humiliating him by leaving him outside with his pants falling down and his genitals exposed.

Merced police were called to his home on a domestic violence call. They say they felt threatened and used the Taser to subdue him after he refused to let go of his daughter.

But Williams says his constitutional rights were violated.

"A lot was going through my head but like I said, my lawyers talked to me, calmed me down and whatever decision came out, comes out," said Williams. After the hung jury was declared, he and his attorneys vowed to return for a new trial.

"What's next for us is just preparing for the next phase of litigation. Whether that be a jury trial, we 're more than willing to do that. We 're very confident in our case and we 're ready to proceed," said Williams' attorney, Adante Pointer.

The attorney representing the city of Merced and the Merced officer said they would go to trial again if need be, but maintained his client did nothing wrong. "Officer Pinnegar acted in a highly stressful, intense situation, made a decision and that decision to take the action he believed he had probable cause on," said defense attorney, Dale Allen.

Both sides said they were not surprised with Friday's outcome.

The plaintiff plans to push for another trial. A new trial date has not been set.

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